OrderPaperToday– The Senate on Thursday called on the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to reduce the number of checkpoints on federal highways across the country.
This resolution followed a point of order raised by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu) who complained about the high number of checkpoints on the highways.
According to him, the checkpoints have brought hardship on commuters who are allegedly extorted by the security personnel.
While making his submission, Utazi said the behind the introduction of checkpoints was to curb insecurity but is now being abused by security agents, hence the call for the reduction.
The Enugu senator said the Lagos-Onitsha Road has about 60 checkpoints, about 23 checkpoints on Lagos-Ore Road and over 36 checkpoints between Ore and Benin highway.
Supporting her colleague, Senator Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra) narrated her recent trip to the South East where she experienced about 10 checkpoints between Enugu and Lokoja, 10 others between Awka and Onitsha and about 30 checkpoints between Onitsha and Owerri.
“The numerous checkpoints have not abated the rate of crimes and kidnappings happen everyday close to the checkpoints.
“I wonder what they are checking. The hardship they are causing is immeasurable. It is not just collapsing the businesses; it is wasting our time”, she added.
Buttressing the extortion earlier highlighted, the minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia), alleged that when police personnel stop and search vehicles, they go through peoples’ phones and arrest them once they find a bank transaction on it.
Senator Sam Egwu (PDP, Ebonyi) on the other hand, opposed the reduction of checkpoints.
“I don’t believe their presence is a nuisance…all we need to do is ask the police to be professional in discharging their duties,” he said.
Approving the point of order, the Red Chamber urged Adamu to immediately review the number of checkpoints on Lagos-Onitsha federal highway (and other roads) with a view to scaling them down not only as a result of the coming yuletide season but at all times from now going forward.
The chamber also told the Police chief to direct his men on the road checkpoints to wear human faces while attending to the moderate public and eschew all sorts of extortion as is commonly alleged while carrying out stop-and-search.
The Federal Emergency Road Maintenance Agency, in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, were also asked to give face-lifts to all federal highways in order to ease free flow of traffic especially during the yuletide season.